Top 10 causes of obesity & what you should do about them!
The problem of overweight and obesity amongst adults and children in Malaysia has been highlighted for more than a decade. The increase in diet-related diseases during the last few decades in Malaysia has prompted the government to recognise the important role that nutrition plays in promotion of health.
Overweight and obesity are associated with an increased risk of dying from Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, Kidney Disease, Liver Disease, Cholesterol and Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD) such as High Blood Pressure, Angina, Heart Attack, Congestive Heart Failure, and Stroke. According to Ministry of Health Malaysia, good nutritional status that leads to optimal quality of life is basic to sustainable development. As Malaysia forges ahead towards Vision 2020, it is imperative for us to consider the nutritional well-being of its population as a matter of everyday concern and practice. To reduce the problem of overweight and obesity amongst adults and children, we have an obligation to understand well about the factors that contribute to weight gain.
Factor 1: Skipping Meals
Skipping meals, especially breakfast, can actually lead to weight gain. Some dieters choose to skip meals to save calories, thinking this is a quick weight loss plan. It’s important to keep your metabolism fired up with the right food at the right time of the day. The proper way to lose weight is to find a sensible weight loss plan that includes making healthier eating choices, exercising, and eating throughout the day to keep your metabolism up.
Metabolism plays a key role in how quickly you burn fat and lose weight; therefore, skipping meal cannot be overlooked as part of your plan for weight loss. Apparently, skipping meals also make people hungrier later in the day. Hence people tend to overeat when they are extremely hungry. Besides this, those who skip meals in day time or breakfast may consume supper within a couple of hours before going to bed. The meal skippers or those who only eat one meal per day have elevated fasting glucose levels and a delayed insulin response – conditions that, if persist long term, could lead to Diabetes. The health risks associated with skipping meals are not worth it.
Factor 2: Snacking
Snacking, especially unhealthy snacking, is likely to play an important role in the development of overweight and obesity. Nowadays, snacks in smaller packages of 100 or 150 calories are very popular among consumers. But many who eat them are likely to gain more weight simply because of the portion size. Since they’re in such small packages, consumers may eat more packs or tempted to eat more without guilt because they look like a diet-food product. Besides this, snacking while watching television has also become a problem at home, especially for youths. People tend to eat more while watching television; and experts have found that snacks that are consumed during this time had higher fat calories, or are higher in carbohydrates, which can lead to weight gain.
Factor 3: Late Night Dinners
Late dinners are a bad eating habit. Everybody has their own schedule, and with that schedule comes individual eating habits as well. While some people will eat their dinner at 6pm on the dot every single night, others will eat at 10pm or later. Studies have found that the time of day you eat is a powerful predictor for weight gain. Experts also warn that late dinner can signal the start of a vicious cycle of weight gain due to increased total calories intake per day. Weight loss, gain, or stabilisation is based on total calories consumed per day versus the amount of energy burned. Therefore, try to finish dinner not later than 7.30pm.
Factor 4: Drinking
Water, is suggested to play an important role in promoting weight loss. People are used to drinking water fast or only in hourly proportions. In fact, you should drink water little by little, throughout the day. Sipping water throughout the day is better than drinking three glasses at a go.
Doing this may provide your body ample time to absorb it. It is highly discouraged to drink an immense amount of water all at once because the heart will be stressed out which can be detrimental, especially to individuals with cardiac cases. Besides this, you don’t have to wait until you’re thirsty to drink water. In order to meet the required number of glasses of water per day, it is wise to have a sip even if you are not parched. Keep this in mind – by the time you feel thirsty; you are already behind by two glasses. However, don’t make it up by drinking two glasses all at once because that will give your heart so much work.
Factor 5: Diets
Healthy balanced diet is essential for everyone to obtain a healthy life as well as to lose weight. Most people might think that by minimising their dietary intake vigorously or even not eating for the whole day can reduce their body weights. Some have unbalanced diet due to them being picky or choosy where food is concerned. They will only choose foods they like such as meat and fried foods because they are more delicious.
For those who have this habit, please stop it as you will lack the nutrients needed to maintain certain functions and metabolisms in the body. In order to lose weight successfully, you should eat your breakfast which is the most important meal of the day to provide energy and to support your body, eat more vegetables and fruits, moderate in eating meats and poultry and cut down the intake of foods that are rich in sugar, salt and fats.
Factor 6: Alcohol
Alcohol intake is one of the causes that can bring drinkers into the higher BMI ratio especially those people who like to drink frequently and without restriction. In fact, alcohol can lead to weight gain due to its high calories that are almost twice as much as proteins and carbohydrates. Alcohol may also fail to yield the feeling of fullness and hence make you to eat more. Worse, alcohol has absolutely no nutritional value to initiate body metabolisms. Thus, fat storage within our body cells and tissues will be initiated by drinking alcohol.
Factor 7: Exercise (and lack thereof)
Physical activity plays an important role in promoting weight loss and to maintain body health. Nowadays, many people lack exercise due to their packed daily schedules. Many have come to rely on vehicles instead of walking, spending hours in front of television and computers rather than exercise for few minutes. This results in the unevenness of caloric balance. Caloric balance is a scale usually used to measure body weight status. When the calories intake from food consumption equals the calories used up or burnt by normal body function and physical activities, it is said to be in balanced status. If the calories intake is more than the calories burnt, the person is in caloric excess which can lead to weight gain.
Factor 8: Fast Food
Fast food intake is one of the factors that lead to overweight and obesity. Because of its convenience, low-price, and fast preparation, with added aroma and taste, compared to home cooked meals, fast foods may lead to obesity as the portion size is large and high in calories. Deep frying and roasting are the two main methods to cook these foods in addition to unhealthy food enhancers, for instance, MSG, salt and sugar. Generally, fast foods contain a lot of saturated fats and sodium as well as trans-fat, which is the unhealthy type of fats.
Regular consumption of fast foods can lead to obesity if one basal metabolic rate is low, consumes less vegetables and fruits, and lacks physical activity to burn off the excessive fats. Nutrients in fast foods are low and may lead to heart disease, diabetes, and atherosclerosis.
Factor 9: Improper Cooking Methods
Cooking methods are the important techniques you should learn to convert raw food ingredients into healthy and delicious foods especially for those who like to cook. Just remember that deep-frying is not necessary because you will not only waste a large amount of oil to fry, but consume the oily foods which burden your stomach and the excess fats will be accumulated and stored in our body.
Boiling, steaming, broiling, baking, grilling and stir-frying are the best cooking techniques which use little or no oil to cook your food. This is a healthy way to retain the original flavour and taste of the food. You can also add some healthy spices and herbs such as basil, cloves, cumin seeds, dill, ginger, oregano, parsley, peppermint, rosemary and turmeric in the food to enhance the aroma. It will definitely taste better even though there is no deep-frying involved.
Factor 10: Genetics
Family history or family background is another factor which leads to overweight and obesity. Studies have shown that a child who has a family with obesity background will have a higher chance of developing into an obese adult even though it is not predetermined. Genetic influence has a great effect on the amount of body fats stored and its distribution in the body. Parents who are obese or overweight will probably bring up an obese child in 25-30% of the cases as they share a similar lifestyle and eating habit.